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Removing Fish Smell from Carpet: A Step-by-Step Process

Cooking or cutting a fish can lead to pungent odors around parts of your house. In particular, if there is a spill or if you end up dropping something on your carpet, it can be even more frustrating since the odor can get caught in the fabric and fibers, making it difficult to get rid of. That’s why it is important to learn how to get fish smell out of carpet.

How, then, do you deal with this kind of situation? There are several methods you can try out that we will examine in detail through this guide.

White Vinegar

First things first, you should clean up the affected area by picking up the dropped or spilled food. It is important to deal with it as soon as possible to prevent the smell from making its way too deep into the carpet.

Author Note: To thoroughly clean it up, you should mix white vinegar with some water and pour it over the area on the carpet. Allow it to soak up the odors by letting it rest for 15-30 minutes.

Once this is done, you can use a cloth or towels to clear up the area. Let it dry completely and ensure that the area is fully clean and fresh.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another great way to get rid of nasty smells. Take a large amount of baking soda and pour it onto the carpet liberally. Make sure it makes its way to all parts of the carpet to cover all your bases.

Baking soda is well known for successfully absorbing odors from surfaces as long as you sprinkle enough of it. You should also let it rest for hours or even for an entire day if the smell is particularly bad.

Once enough time has passed, you can vacuum the carpet to remove any excess baking soda. This should ideally solve the problem by eliminating the fish smell.


Lemons are a good way to eliminate fish smells from carpets. In general, lemons provide a convenient way to freshen up the house and leave a pleasant scent across your house.

For using it on your carpet, you can pour some lemon juice over it, let it rest for a bit so that it can absorb the fish smell and then dry up the area using a cloth or towels.

Author Note: Make sure the lemon juice does not remove any color from the carpet. To test this out, you can pour out a small amount of it on one part of the carpet. If it works well, you can move ahead with the rest of the carpet.

Make sure you clear out everything thoroughly after using it. You can also boil lemon peels in water to freshen up the area around the carpet even more.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can be a good way to deodorize your carpet or any other part of your house since it has several anti-bacterial properties that help in absorbing and neutralizing stains and odors.

To use it on your carpet, you should mix the rubbing alcohol with water so that it is well diluted. Pour this over the affected carpet and let it rest for a few hours to ensure maximum soaking.

You can dry it out by using a cloth or some towels while also placing the carpet in the sun for a while so that it becomes completely clean and odor-free.

Enzyme Cleaner

Enzyme cleaners make use of enzymes that can effectively get rid of stains and odors. These are usually catalysts that can decompose different kinds of reactions present in stains and odors.

You should pour a good-quality enzyme cleaner over the carpet and let it rest for several hours, perhaps even an entire day if the smell is too strong. This will allow the cleaner to gradually get rid of the smells on the carpet.

You can then use a cloth to remove any remaining cleaner from the carpet so that it can freshen up. Leaving it out to dry for some time can enhance this as well.

Cat Litter

Cat litter is a surprising and unconventional way to get rid of the fish smell from the carpet. Yet, it works! You can place the cat litter on the affected part of the carpet and let it rest there for a while.

This will allow the litter to absorb the smell from your carpet, effectively getting rid of it within a few hours. Once this is done, you can collect the cat litter and throw it out.

You will need to pour some baking soda or a vinegar solution over this part if you put the cat litter directly on the carpet.

If you want to avoid this latter step, you can simply leave the litter in uncovered containers around the carpet.


While most of the materials mentioned in this list are deodorizers, you can also opt for commercial deodorizers that contain some of these elements. There are also some special carpet-based deodorizers that will not damage the fibers of your carpet.

You should pour this deodorizer over the carpet and leave it that way for a few hours. Leaving it longer than that can help as well.

This will eliminate all the odors from the carpet. Make sure you run a vacuum over the carpet to get rid of any excess deodorizer to dry it out fully.

You can then also place some scented candles nearby to create a more pleasant smell.


Coffee or activated charcoal can also be used to get rid of the fish smell from the carpet. It works in a similar way to the rest of the products mentioned here.

Author Note: By pouring a certain amount of it over the carpet and letting it sit for a few hours, these substances can absorb the fish smell effectively. You can then vacuum up the carpet to clean it up thoroughly.

Using some citrus scents or spices can further freshen up the room even more.

Other Tips

Now that you know about most of the methods you can use to get the fish smell out of the carpet, we can now move on to some other important tips that you can make use of.

Fresh Air

It is important to provide sufficient fresh air and sunlight to your carpet to fully dry it out and naturally get rid of the odor. While this might not be sufficient by itself, it must certainly be done after carrying out most of the aforementioned methods.

The light from the sun can help get rid of harmful microbes that may be left behind in the carpet.

In fact, even without any kind of stain or smell, you should let your carpet receive sufficient ventilation to prevent a build-up of such microbes. Make sure that the air is not too humid as this could lead to mold.

Shampoo or Steam

There are special kinds of carpet shampoos that can soak up the smells from your carpet. This is a great way to get rid of fish smells that have made their way into deeper parts of the carpet as well.

Usually, once you use this kind of carpet shampoo, you will also need to use a steamer to collect the remaining shampoo and dry out the carpet completely.

This is an expensive solution, but you can make use of it in case nothing else seems to work.

Professional Cleaner

All the aforementioned methods require you to use some home or commercial-based products and solutions to get rid of the fish smell from your carpet. However, it is possible that sometimes none of these might work, especially if the fish smell has seeped deep into the carpet.

In such a case, it might help to contact a professional cleaner to help you out. Such cleaners usually use advanced shampoos and steamers to eliminate the stains and smells.

Once again, this can be a relatively expensive option but can certainly deep clean your carpet thoroughly.

Preventative Measures

It is important to prevent such fish smells in your carpet in the first place. This requires you to take care while filleting or cooking fish. For instance, if it is possible for you to remove your carpet while you are cooking, this can prevent the smell from getting into it.

If this is not possible, however, you can use options such as mint or citrus while cooking. Placing these leaves, peels, or juice with your fish oil or around the kitchen can absorb the bad smell from it.

Soaking the fish in lemon water for a while can also be effective to remove the smell.

Final Remarks

That brings us to the end of this comprehensive guide through which we listed down multiple methods of getting rid of the fish smell from your carpet.

It is clear that most of these methods require you to pour a substance over the carpet and then clear it up after a few hours. You can also opt for professional services if these methods don’t work.

Go ahead, then! Try some of these out and get that fish smell out.

Happy Hunting!


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